Chris Hedges wrote this a week ago but it is as relevant now as then because it is about the slow execution of Julian Assange who is still a relatively young man but who know is very weak and frail, still unjustly in prison and had a stroke last week.
He exposed empire as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, its callous disregard for human life, its rampant corruption, and its innumerable war crimes. But, as history shows, empires kill those who inflict deep wounds.
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Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis QC, Clair Dobbin QC and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the director general of MI5.
Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health, and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The 10 years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high-security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied by a lack of sunlight and exercise, and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress. “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancée Stella Moris said of the stroke.
His steady deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he has thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work.
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Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.
Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds.